• Market trends/Destination news:
  • New package travel law: Tour operators turn hotel-only bookings into package holidays – Under the new law, which implements the EU Package Travel Directive, consumers will get more legal protection for online bookings as well as for ‘combined’ travel agency bookings of separate travel products from different suppliers (such as flights and hotels). Consumers will also have more time (up to two years) to seek compensation for verifiable holiday problems, such as in hotels.

As a consequence, leading tour operators have responded with an important product change. In future, hotel-only bookings will be combined with a ‘service package’ (such as destination services) in order to turn them into package holidays, which automatically include customer support in case of problems or emergencies, and which are fully covered by insolvency insurance. Examples of service packages include TUI’s Plus Paket, Thomas Cook’s Sunny Heart package and similar deals from DER Touristik and other top tour operators (with the prominent exception of Alltours).This move could give tour operators a significant competitive advantage over direct bookings of hotel accommodation or holiday homes, which are not legally defined as package holidays.

  • Strong booking requests for hotels in Tunisia and Egypt: According to the fvw Hotelometer in cooperation with data analysis company TrevoTrend, bookings requests made by German holidaymakers for holiday hotels have increased by 44% in the past two weeks compared to bookings the year before. The increase is with 68% even more impressive for Tunisia.
  • Turkey expects 5 million German visitors in 2018: Osman Ayik, president of the Turkish hotel federation Türofed, expects this year about as many German visitors as in 2014, but figures should not reach the record year 2015 with 5.6 million guests. For the coming season hoteliers will have to increase their rates as there is still a gap of 10 to 15 percent compared to pre-crisis price levels. In his interview with fvw, Ayik also said that he expects further growth from Germany for 2019. “It should be our aim for the German market to reach the figure of seven million guests within five years.” he stated.

 

  • Airline news:
  • Lufthansa and Eurowings apologize: Lufthansa and Eurowings apologize to the customers for the massive delays and flight cancellations of the past few weeks. Reasons mentioned by the airlines are capricious weather conditions, air traffic controllers’ strikes and bottlenecks in air traffic control and airport infrastructure. Eurowings also admits problems with the integration of 70 aircraft and 3,000 employees following the Air Berlin bankruptcy. “The ongoing transition period is operationally and logistically an enormous achievement, for which there is no blueprint,” writes Eurowings chef Thorsten Dirks. The approximately 130 travel agencies, which recently sent protest letters to the airline and threatened to collect 50 euro handling fees per flight schedule change, have meanwhile received support from Austria. The Austrian travel association joins the protest and laments the “massive extra work and extra costs” for the travel agencies.  “It is also absolutely unacceptable that our employees in the travel agencies have to take the blame for the mismanagement of Eurowings,” says Secretary General Walter Sacramento
  • Germania launches ticket sales for summer 2019: New on Germania’s flight schedule are routes to Larnaka and Djerba. The airline will fly to Larnaka from Bremen, Dresden and Münster/Osnabrück. Passengers will travel to Djerba from Berlin-Tegel and Munich.

 

  • Tour operator news
  • FTI relocates central business units to Egypt and Turkey: One of Germany’s biggest tourism groups, FTI, will open major offices in El Gouna and Istanbul under a reorganization and partly due to staffing problems in its home city, Munich, where rents and living costs are high. This week FTI and its destination services subsidiary Meeting Point signed a rental agreement for a large office in a new business park close to El Gouna, the Egyptian holiday resort town developed by Orascom Holding, which is owned by hotelier and FTI minority shareholder Samih Sawiris. The nine-year rental contract is worth US$ 6.7 million, according to Orascom. Some 200 staff of Meeting Point Egypt will initially work in the office, which is due to open in June 2019, with more staff planned at a later date. In addition, FTI will soon open a new office in Istanbul to bundle staff from the group’s ‘hospitality’ unit, including hotel management activities, in one location.
  • Thomas Cook claims number 1 position in Greece: Following the launch of a new hotel brand, Cook’s Club, in Greece, the Thomas Cook Group claims that it will become the leading tour operator in the destination with some three million customers. In total, Cook’s investments in the Greek tourism industry will increase by 22% to around €150 million in 2018.
  • Strong sales growth for Schauinsland: Germany’s six-largest tour operator expects a 10% rise in bookings, thus being well ahead of its original targets in its centenary year. For winter 2018/19, Schauinsland has released six different brochures, including its first one combining package holidays with cruises on TUI’s Mein Schiff vessels as well as on Aida and MSC ships. The company has also expanded its offer with more than 100 new hotels in short- and long-haul destinations, and secured additional capacity in popular destinations such as the Canaries, Egypt and Madeira. Meanwhile, leisure airline Sundair, in which Schauinsland holds a 50% stake, is expanding its fleet with the purchase of two A320s formerly operated by Air Berlin that should come into operation in August and September respectively.

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